Supreme Court Ruling Limits Cost Shifting Attorneys' Fees for Plaintiffs
Otero, Juan, Nation's Cities Weekly
In the Supreme Court decision, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote, "A defendant's voluntary change in conduct, although perhaps accomplishing what the plaintiff sought to achieve by the lawsuit, lacks the necessary judicial imprimatur on the change." Someone who does not win in court does not prevail, according to the opinion.
Last week, the United States Supreme Court dealt a setback to litigants who have counted on being reimbursed by the other side for their legal fees if their lawsuits, brought under federal law, accomplished their goals.
By a 5-to-4 vote, the court ruled that the fee-shifting provisions of these laws do not apply in the absence of an actual courtroom victory or court-approved settlement agreement. Litigation that only serves as a "catalyst" for a policy change, without producing a legal ruling, does not qualify for reimbursement of fees, the majority said in an opinion by Chief Justice William …
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Publication information: Article title: Supreme Court Ruling Limits Cost Shifting Attorneys' Fees for Plaintiffs. Contributors: Otero, Juan - Author. Magazine title: Nation's Cities Weekly. Volume: 24. Issue: 22 Publication date: June 4, 2001. Page number: 8. © 2009 National League of Cities. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group.
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